Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Steeple Sets A New Stage For Wolf People

Steeple by Wolf PeopleAlthough the band was formed just four years ago, it is safe to say Wolf People is firmly rooted in the past. Their entire album, Steeple, is reminiscent of a 1970s rock classic. But it wasn't recorded in the 70s. It was recorded this year.

Before Steeple, this British quartet had only released 7” singles and one limited edition EP called Tidings. Where Tidings only hinted at potential greatness, Steeple delivers. This is an album everyone would have bought back in the 70s, and it's smart to have it today.

Best described as genre shifting, but with firm roots in blues, electric English folk, progressive rock, and psychedelic rock, Wolf People is influenced by all the greats: Jimi Hendrix, Blind Faith, Cream, Led Zeppelin, and Jeff Beck.

Some people say there is some Black Sabbath in the mix too. I don't know. Despite influences, Wolf People clearly blaze their own path with a massive sound. They emulate far less than many throwbacks, with the musicians strong enough to stand on their own.

Wolf People Gave Steeple Deeper Roots Than The 1970s.

Band members Joe Hollick, Dan Davies, Tom Watt and frontman Jack Sharp recorded Steeple in a converted chicken barn located on the grounds of a 17th century Welsh farm. And yeah, that in and of itself helps create some very poignant 70s rock.

The result is well worth the effort, especially with Watt’s unabashed driving percussion, roaring rhythm, blazing riffs, and Sharp’s solid voice. The latter sometimes takes criticism for getting lost in the mix or not being strong enough. I vehemently disagree, having grown up in an age when the vocals were part of the music. Sharp's voice is the icing on a heavily layered cake. Heavy, like Tiny Circle.

As for Steeple, there isn't a bad track in the mix. And, the purposeful vinyl scratch that can be heard here and there only adds to the allure.

Some standouts include Silbury Sands with its righteous kickass riffs, and Tiny Circle for some fearsome flute that pays homage to Ian Anderson. After that, it's a nice piece of twisty metal in One By One from Dorney Beach and a blistering solo tucked inside Painted Cross. The latter might be the masterpiece of the album.

Wolf People's Steeple Howls With A 7.6 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

The easiest way to sum up Steeple is to call it what it is: timeless, consistent, and only slightly self-indulgent. That's by design. And it's also why indie label Jagjaguwar has a real find here.

You can find Steeple by the Wolf People on iTunes. On Amazon, look for Steeple [+Digital Booklet].

What you won't find is Wolf People on tour. We're hoping to see a schedule soon beyond an event booked at the O2 Academy Islington. And if we're very lucky, maybe they'll join fellow labelmates Black Mountain again.
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